Public Speaking, Educating & Such

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Last night, I had the amazing opportunity to speak with a group of adults in the Stephen Ministry Continuing Education Program at Grace Community Church in North Raleigh.  Stephen Ministry is a program that equips lay persons to provide distinctly Christian care to individuals who are experiencing all kinds of life needs and circumstances. Stephen Ministers are a group of gifted and dedicated volunteers whose mission is to provide personal, confidential, and caring support for a wide variety of concerns.  

I always get nervous before I speak to a group of people about open adoption.  I'm not sure why, but I'm always afraid that I'll blank out and forget the rest of the story.  I have this incredible fear that I'll be talking and suddenly I won't be able to remember what happened next.  It's silly, since I actually lived my experience, but nonetheless, something that makes me really nervous and anxious. 

I've learned that prayer has an amazing power to calm fears.  I prayed yesterday that God would help me to find the exact words to say to get the point across about open adoption--and He did!  The Lord has shown me time and time again that He is always good and that He is in always control.  I can only leave it up to Him to guide me in educating others about open adoption.  Blogging is easy for me.  I just isolate myself with a computer and a cup of coffee and words just start coming out.  Public speaking is different because all eyes are on you, and you have to speak about your sins and mistakes to a group of complete strangers.  "Hi guys, I got pregnant out of wedlock five years ago" isn't really the best way to start a speech.  Although it would be pretty funny if I did.  Last night was the first time that I feel as if my story flowed logically and naturally.  I wasn't nervous after I began, and the audience was intrigued and very interested.  I got lots of great questions and I even remembered to bring my gigantic book of pictures from the day Deanna was born up until present day Deanna Dollar.  I felt the presence of the Lord, and it was awesome.

I really enjoy speaking to people in a small, intimate setting like the high school class at Broughton and the adults at Stephen Ministry.  I like to simply sit in a chair, surrounded by my audience, and just speak from the heart.  I run into trouble when I'm given a microphone and a large audience that expects me to stand up.  A few weeks ago, I was asked to give a personal testimony about my experience with open adoption after a pro-life play in Cary.  I stood up with the microphone and looked out at a sea of about 200 faces staring at me.  Yikes!  Let me go home now!  Have you ever had a word vomit?  You know, when words just start coming out and you can't stop them?  That's what happened to me.  I can't remember exactly what I said, but I remember feeling very faint and light-headed.  What I actually said was probably somewhere along the lines of, "I..errrr...uuuuhhh, hhhh...hhhhh...hhhhheeeelllo. Welcome welcome welcome welcome!" I do remember that I forgot to mention what Robbie and I are doing now, the fact that I have started a birthmom blog, and some pretty major details of our story. I think the audience got the point, but this whole personal testimony thing has just been a huge learning experience for me.  I'm still learning how to let go of my fears and to stop worrying about making everything perfect.  Yes, I'm still a recovering perfectionist.

I'm thinking of starting a program for high school students to educate them about the consequences of teen sex.  I loved the class of high school students I spoke to at Broughton, and it has really inspired me to think of new ways to reach out to young people.  I want it to be different than just standing up and telling my story, though.  I want it to be unique, memorable, and more than someone coming to tell students, "don't do this!"  A video would be awesome, but I'd need some help. 
Anyone have any good ideas? 

Pictures from the State game this weekend:

You've gotta love the Family Circus classics...


Lavender Luz said...

I bet your message is very powerful.

Good for you, Amy!

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